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JFK Assassination: Conspiracy Theories and Wild Whodunits Still Linger Over 60 Years Later (FPD CASE VAULT)

JFK Assassination: Conspiracy Theories and Whodunits Still Linger
Source: Bettmann/CORBIS

This image is part of an official 1963 Dallas police department reenactment showing a car in the killing zone.

Mar. 4 2024, Published 10:01 a.m. ET

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Hands down, the assassination of John F. Kennedy is the biggest "whodunit" in American history.

Almost from the moment the bullets struck the 35th president, crime experts, investigators and armchair analysts have had a field day debating over who really shot Kennedy.

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While the definitive answer has proven elusive for 60 years, there is no shortage of theories, some credible, some far-fetched, about whose mysterious hand was behind the death of the King of Camelot.

Among the "usual suspects" are:

    • Anti-Castro Cuban exiles, angered at Kennedy's refusal to order U.S. air support to back the Bay of Pigs invasion, resulting in the attack's failure.
    • The CIA, threatened with decimation by Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs debacle.
    • Power-hungry Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson, Kennedy's vice president, is said to have hated his dashing boss.
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    • The Israelis — angered over Kennedy's opposition to the Mideast nation's nuclear weapons program — got even with the help of rogue CIA agents.
    • New Orleans right wingers David Ferrie, Guy Bannister and Clay Shaw, again with the help of the CIA, targeted the liberal president. District Attorney Jim Garrison tried to convict this group.
    • The Secret Service, then staffed largely by Southerners who disliked Kennedy's policies on racial integration, deliberately exposed the commander in chief to danger by removing his limo's bubble top, enabling a sniper to cut down the president.

    And there are many, many more. Perhaps the only truth is that we will never know the truth.

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